What do these words have in common? They are all common English words that have Greek roots.
English is a difficult language to learn to speak and even harder to learn to spell. I have struggled with spelling my entire life. I was not given a strong foundation in the subjects that would help me with spelling. I want something better for my kids.
We start with a strong basis in phonics for reading (kindergarten). I add a spelling program that teaches the basic spelling rules of the English language (first grade). We add Latin to assist with grammar and spelling/understanding words that are Latin based (first or second grade). This year (fourth grade), we are adding Greek to help with the spelling of words with Greek origins.
The study of Greek roots can also help with understanding the meaning of new words. If a child comes across a new word with Greek origins, they are able to break the word apart and derive a meaning through their knowledge of Greek. My 8-year-old son is already doing this with his minimal study of the Latin language, Greek history, and Greek mythology.
Is this too much? Can a child learn two languages at one time? Am I overwhelming my student?
No. Yes. I don’t think so.
I don’t think I am giving my child too much. Many people vastly underestimate what a child can learn and handle. If you understand a child’s learning style and you cater to that, they can learn at an astounding rate. I am careful to select curricula that support my individual child’s learning style as much as possible.
Many children grow up learning two and three languages at once. Most of those probably live in a bilingual household or have regular contact with a native speaker. It may be a little harder to learn through books and CDs, but I am not looking for fluency in speech with Latin and Greek. I want a knowledge of the elements of the language that will support their use of the English written word, and later aid their study of the foreign languages they chose to learn in the logic and rhetoric stages of their education.
My son will be starting his third year of Latin. It seems to come easy for him. The program we use teaches pronunciation, grammar, and some conversational Latin phrases. As we add Greek, we will start with Memoria Press’ Greek Alphabet book. This slow start as we overlap the languages should help ease us into two languages without overwhelming or confusing him. We can always drop it if it becomes too much and add it back in a year.
I have spent time talking with my son about why we are studying these languages. He has even had conversations where he was able to put his knowledge to use. This alone excites him to begin a new language! I know why I want my children to study the subject, and I take great care as well to be sure they understand why we are studying it. This gives them a focus and determination that no one can force on them; they want it for themselves. I am teaching them to take control of their education.
Cheryl–Cheryl is a singing, dancing, baking, homeschooling mom of three. She has danced her whole life and taught ballet and theatre for most of her adult life. Her favorite pastime has always been cooking and baking, and as a Pampered Chef Independent Consultant she gets to share that love with others. Home educating her three children has been and continues to be one of her greatest learning experiences! It is an adventure she is ready to continue.